01 May 2010


With the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton in 1328, the English Crown recognised Scotland as an independent nation.  And then the Acts of Union undid it in 1707.  Carolus Linnaeus published Species Plantarum in 1753.  Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro was performed for the first time in 1786.  The Folies Bergère opened in 1869.  The Empire State Building was dedicated in 1931.  The Salk polio vaccine became available in 1956.  And in 2003, Shrub stood aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln in front of a banner stating "Mission Accomplished" to tell the world that major combat operations in Iraq had come to an end.

Born today:  Joseph Addison (1672-1719), Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955), Judy Collins (1939) and Joanna Lumley (1946)

It is Beltane and May Day.


  1. Welcome to the early shift, MsC.

  2. Hi Peter

    Never seem to manage the late one these days!

  3. I heard Cameron say something yesterday to the effect that the public will buy into public sector spending cuts if the Tories 'bring people along' with them in doing so. Or something.

    I take it he thinks turkeys really should vote for Christmas.

  4. MsChin - perhaps he is floating an idea to get the cuts in without impacting service - like 'bring your child to work' day, by saying "bring people along", they're proposing that the remaining public servants all bring an unemployed person with them everyday to do the filing and typing and make the coffee? Like the NHS is like a big Oxfam shop - a couple of paid satff, the rest made up of volunteers...

  5. At work so can't do a link, but type 'Avatoke' into you tube search, I was crying with laughter last night. ; )

  6. Trouble is, the only lot who won't make savage cuts and inept decisions over Public Sector funding are Labour. And they've fucked themselves.

    Happy May Day.

  7. turminderxuss
    Heh... Like it !!

  8. Phillipa

    Of course, I see it now. And for those who aren't necessarily unemployed, we could find ways for them to feel included too:

    Bring your own rubber gloves, bucket & cloth when visiting your sick relative or friend, so you can help us fight MRSA by cleaning the ward while you're here.

  9. Bitterweed

    Our only hope is about to lose office. Ah, the irony of it.

  10. MsChin
    Indeed. Dismal days. Off out for bike ride round the reservoir now. After three hours sleep. This could go a bit slowly.

  11. MsChin - that's the spirit! Big Society here we come...

  12. BW

    Enjoy at a leisurely pace, then!

  13. Phillipa

    And would vistors please bring pens, as the nurses need 'em to write down important things like when they did your blood pressure / gave you your morphine, but the ward can no longer order basic stationery without authorisation from 'on high'.

    And sadly, I'm not making that one up - the latter part of that statement is already happening in hospitals everywhere.

  14. Polly Toynbee in today's article:

    "Wherever you visit, there are plentiful monuments to Labour: in this area 12 children's centres, three academies, another newly rebuilt school, a polyclinic. A previously besieged council estate was now pristine, the proof in perfect flowerbeds no one had trampled: will they revert in the cuts to come? Reasons to keep Conservatism at bay abound, but Gordon Brown has been a woeful advocate."

    Seriously though FFS, she believes one rough estate is now good because no one trampled on the flowerbeds. In depth analysis as usual there Polly.

  15. Nap

    I looked at Polly's article earlier and decided to assiduously avoid it as having atenuos hold on reality, plus the trolls were already out in force on the thread.

  16. @ NapK. Polly carefully omits that all of those shiny new buidlings of which she (and New lab) are so proud will cost extortionately over the odss, and we'll be paying for 25-30 years thanks to Brown's immoral wholesale adoption of PFI(originally a Tory idea, but taken to a whole new level). Any damn fool can deliver new schools and hospitals that way, but it's not just smoke'n'mirrors accounting, but benefits the building consortia and management consultants and bankers setting up the deals. The buildings are typically shiny but gimcrack (look at the CABE report on the shoddy quality of new schools buildings...) and we're supposedly to be ever so grateful that Labour have struck such abysmally bad value deals, lining the pockets of private sector middle-men?

  17. @Alisdair

    Forgive me if I'm wrong, and PFI certainly is a crock of shit, but wasn't it done to give a massive increase in public spending without it appearing on the books under existing accounting rules? It was an attempt to get necessary stuff done without giving the Tories an easy target and so scaring the supposedly right-leaning electors. I don't think it was a particularly ideological scheme.

    And I would have thought it would have been easier to change the accounting rules myself, but there you go.

  18. Phillipa

    You go, girl (on the HIV thread)!

  19. Happy merry merry month of May!

    Moving article by Celia Stubbs with a plethora of excellent comments for a change (apart from MAM making a complete turd out of himself of course).

  20. PeterJ,

    PFI most certainly is an ideological cornerstone of neo-liberalism and indicative of the consensus which now exists in today's party politics.

    PFI was first implemented by Bob Hawke in Australia in the late 80's. Hawke as leader of the Australian Labor Party was the first 'labour' politician to actively implement public service delivery based on the theory that including private business as a stakeholder could create better services and also remove debts from the Treasury books.

    John Major ran with it in the early 90's and New Labour's widescale PFI implementation is indicative of the neo-liberal dogma at the heart of our political administration.

    Private business concentrates the taxpayers wealth in its own hands by charging ludicrous sums and tying us in to ruinous contracts to subsequently deliver piss poor services and infrastructure whilst not appearing on treasury books.

    Pure neo-liberal dogma.

  21. MsChin - I'm on the verge of mentioning Lewis Carroll, that's how ridiculous things are getting. The fact that gay 'major / minor' relationships two hundred years ago might just have been a mirror of the prevailing hetero model of sexual relationships, in marital (age difference / transactional), extra-marital (lord / maid, beau / actress), or commercial (beau / pro) straight relations is never mentioned as having an effect on modern straight sexual relations.

    But apparently Sparta is still a model for the gay experience. Genuinely fucking cross.

  22. medve

    Celia Stubbs' dignity throughout this long harrowing campaign for justice is truly amazing. As is her tenacity.

  23. Phillipa

    Your crossness is entirely understandable. And Chris Ward has now responded to the f*ckwits.

  24. @Duke

    Working from memory, and I'll have to look this up, I recall that PFI was only for capital expenditure rather than provision of services. Sure, bringing private 'enterprise' into public service provision certainly is neo-liberal dogma, and started here under Thatcher, but I'm not so sure that the capital expenditure is. Although it certainly provides plenty of opportunities for palm-greasing and corruption.

    Anyway, I still doubt that Blair, whatever his faults, came into office determined to build lots of new hospitals and schools just to give Tarmac and British Land a few backhanders.

  25. Proof that the US military industrial comoplex is often the most important factor in the American corridors of power.
    Filling schoolkids full of crap food was good for business, so the politicians did nothing. Obesity was good, fat people eat more.

    But now the US military has complained that this is limiting their availability of future cannon fodder. Suddenly the wheels spring into motion, .....

    "We consider this problem so serious from a national security perspective that we have joined more than 130 other retired generals, admirals and senior military leaders in calling on Congress to pass new child nutrition legislation," the commanders added.

    Fast food is just a communist plot to make the youth of America idle.
    Posed the cynic....!

  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. I have to admit I am a bit confused this morning. Just spoke to my ma who is deeply upset with The Guardian for backing the Lib Dems. I don't get it. Why the concern? Loads of people are spitting blood on the thread to that editorial.

    The Lib Dems have a more progressive manifesto in many ways than NEW Labour - but I don't trust em as far as I can throw them either. The three main parties are all neo liberal parties.

    But why the despair over Labour? Everything New Labour has done has either been following on from Thatcherite dogma or a cowardly cop out trying to do a little bit of good (except for the minimum wage really which was a good move). So instead of - as the Lib Dems propose but would probably shelve instantly - upping the basic tax rate - they introduce ludicrously complex tax credits - most of which go to pretty well off middle class types anyway who know how to claim everything and anything.

    They absolutely spit on the poorest and what they have done to benefits claimants of all hues is positively evil. This year alone - a lady died in Camden authority from neglect - her social worker had been taken away and in modern Britain she died on her own, from being ignored. A young mother killed herself and her child. People jumped off a building and a young girl killed herself because she couldn't find a job. All under NEW Labour.

    So I asked my mum (who hates them allegedly) why she cares. She said 'Well there is only The Mirror supporting Labour now - only one paper supporting a left wing party''.

    To which I replied: ''But Labour are not left wing anymore, they are NEW Labour, possibly Blair is to the right of Major even and they have done some terrible things and have real blood on their hands at home and abroad.''

    To which she replied: ''Yes but the press are so anti Labour.''

    I don't get it.

    I will of course be extremely scared on the seventh if the Tories get in or if there is a Lib/Tory coalition but am I the only person that thinks NEW Labour has to die? And then go away, lick its wounds and realise that unfortunately if you fuck them over enough your base can go elsewhere, or even decide not to vote at all? That they need to come back having got rid of all the Blairite/ Brownite shits and with some real left wingers leading the party (god if there are any left)?

    As I have said here and on Cif I have joined the Greens - who by the way are the only party to be repeatedly writing about and talking about welfare reform and what it is doing to real people. They recently wrote an article about this and sent it to Panorama. The other parties are just ignoring it. (Although in the commons when the latest reforms were being debated (all of about ten MP's turned up) the Lib Dem woman who was there was great and strongly dissaproved of Labour and the Tories use of 'far too much stick nowhere near enough carrot' that she said would lead to desparation and fear for vulnerable people.)
    The Greens wont get in obviously but at least they are the only party with vaguely socialist policies and who realise that in a finite world we cannot have an economic system based on the need for endless growth.

    So in a sense I am on the outside of all this spat between supporters of the big 3 but I still don't get how anyone can claim that New Labour will save the poor and the needy. Things will be worse under the Tories of course but does that mean we should vote for a party that will only kick us in the gut in case we get a party that will kick us in the head?

  28. Peter,

    Working from memory, and I'll have to look this up, I recall that PFI was only for capital expenditure rather than provision of services. Sure, bringing private 'enterprise' into public service provision certainly is neo-liberal dogma, and started here under Thatcher, but I'm not so sure that the capital expenditure is.

    This naturally begets the question "why would a private company provide capital for public services?" Certainly not for philanthropic reasons but for profit. Where does this profit come from? Us, the taxpayer.

    Therefore the capital expenditure the business intitally puts up is small change compared to the profit they make back. And there are innumerable examples of the sub standard infrastructure delivered by PFI in return for rocketing profits for the businesses involved. So yes, the capital expenditure is very much part of the PFI neo-liberal model.

  29. @ PeterJ: "It was an attempt to get necessary stuff done without giving the Tories an easy target..."
    And that's just one of the reasons its so wrong: tie the nation up in rip-off deals, feather the pockets of the private sector for a generation, all to maintain a risible illusion, solely for party political gain/appearance's sake. Dismally burden the nation so that you can attempt to present your party as financial wizards, which they most certainly aren't.

  30. @Duke

    I think we're talking slightly at cross purposes. I think PFI is a bad thing, for all the reasons you state. What I'm trying to say is that Labour's intention was to get very large amounts of public capital spending done without putting it through the books. Imagine what the Tories would have done in the early years after 1997 with 'debt bombshells' and 'tax and spend disaster' propaganda. Blair was always convinced that the UK was a basically Tory country.

    So yes, PFI has morphed into something more monstrous than it was intended to be initially, and has become an automatic choice in the Civil Service thanks to the dodgy consultants like McKinsey and PWC. But I don't think its original purpose was necessarily evil.

    As I say, I'll have to go back and read it up. I'm not intending any PFI apologetics, but trying to be fair. God knows why, these days...

  31. @Alisdair

    Yes, exactly! Although the advantage was not purely party political. At least the hospitals and schools got built, quicker than they would have been otherwise, and without political storms.

  32. princessc

    It's the Old Labour loyalty thing, from people who remember even harder times and who don't distinguish between Old and New Labour, and for whom the prospect of a Tory government is anathema.

  33. PeterJ - But this is New Lab all over. Gutless. So scared of the Tory press that they cannot just say 'Look we need new hospitals.' So they bring in PFI - which has been appalling.

    So scared of the Tory press that they don't raise the basic tax rate but bring in a complex system of tax credits.

    So scared of the CBI etc that when they bring in their new stakeholder pensions they bottle it and don't demand an employer contribution - making them almost worthless for those on low pay with an employer who chooses not to contribute.

    They won on a landslide and people wanted change (yes that word again). People who voted for them feel betrayed.

    By doing as you suggest and constantly trying to placate the Tories and a right wing press what New Labour have done is move the political discourse in this country alarmingly to the right.

  34. MSChin - don't get me wrong I am bricking it at the thought of the Tories. I really am. And I hate them with a passion. But I cannot bring myself to vote for Labour just to keep the Tories out.

    We need somehow, from somewhere - a proper left wing party and if New Labour has to die for that to happen then I think that is what must happen. Of course I might be eating my words in eighteen months when I am living off my apocalypse tins 'cause the Tories have messed it up good and proper all over again and interest rates are up to twenty percent and VAT on food means I cant afford fresh veg.

    I may come to regret it but I just cant vote for them. My Green vote is wasted in many ways but it is either that, dont vote or spoil my paper.

  35. @PrincessCC

    Yes, again, exactly! I don't think New Labour were neo-liberal ideologues. They were, basically, cowards who thought they could do good by stealth in what they regarded as a hostile environment. But all they have managed is to hide whatever good they have done so successfully that many people don't think there is any good there.

    It's too late now, of course.

  36. I can understand your pov, princess, but I too am feeling the Old Labour loyalty thing - it goes back generations for many of us.

    Aside from which, while my constituency is a 'safe seat', I cannot vote against my excellent local Labour councillors. I would like to see the Gucci shoes / designer suits of the Lib Dems off my council.

  37. And I'm not disagreeing - we need to see the death of New Labour and a fading of Tony Blair's tan to get anywhere.

  38. Need to go out for a while - back later.

  39. Question for Leni or Dot

    Just spied dozens of tiny green caterpillars abseiling down individual silk threads, from a neighbour's conifer hedge. Fascinating to watch.

    I'm curious to know what they might be?

  40. I suppose MSChin - its how we go about reforming the Labour party that is an issue. Do we vote for parties we think are more progressive or vote for Labour and be involved with them and try to change them that way.

    It goes back generations for me too (although my Grandad stood locally for the ILP so I suppose my family always had 'issues' with the direction of the parliamentary labour party.)

    I remember my mum tearing up her membership card, crying, when Kinnock took over.

    Some believe they have to face defeat and then pick up the pieces and hopefully in the examining of that defeat realise they need to return to trying to win their base vote back - whereas others believe that a defeat will not do this - it will swing them further to the right believing they lost because they were too socialist!

    I just cannot forgive them Iraq or Welfare Reform and shitdribble Purnell.

    But as I say I might really regret this a year or so down the line when we have the full force of Tory wrath visited upon us. My seat is a marginal one too so my vote counts - think its the same constituency as Sheff.

    I liked her idea of giving her vote away - brilliant.

    I think that what you describe is what my mum is feeling. She hates what Labour has become but there are no credible alternatives and of course the Tories are horrendous. Depressing times indeed.

  41. princessc

    The Labour party that represents us in national government may have lost touch with we, the ordinary people, but the other parties were never remotely in touch with us at all. Life is fragile enough for those at the sharp end, which is why we are so afraid.

    If I had to face the Thatcher years again, I'd vote for euthanasia and beg to be set free of it.

  42. Yeah MsChin - I can see your point. My mum was pretty emotional when we were talking. She - rightly - pointed out that for me I was a teenager during the Thatcher years - so although I hate her because I saw my family and their friends lose livelihoods etc I didn't actually have to spend ten years never having any money and counting every single penny, I was protected from it really by my parents.

    As soon as I was eighteen I got a job in a shop for six months - saved up all my wages and got a last minute deal to Greece -and stayed for four years. So I missed the whole Major years too!

    I suppose I agree with RedNorth and others who think all three main parties are useless now in helping ordinary people. They are all neo liberals. And I don't know what the answer is. My stepdad is not voting but very politically active in other ways - and he thinks this can only be won now by direct action by populations - through strikes and getting out on the streets. It remains to be seen if this comes about I suppose.

    I feel bad now about my really angry comments to the upset and angry Labour supporters on the Editorial thread. I just think about Purnell and get a visceral reaction!

    Right - I am off to make some lunch.

  43. The election is sadly, irrelevant. What matters is what happens afterwards.

    I've posted this before and make no apology for posting it again.

    New labour must die - we need to build a rejuvenated socialist party out its ashes.

    To do this we need to :
    -join the labour party (Iknow - you'll need to hold your nose! I've been holding mine for years)

    - Join the Labour Representation Coimmittee

    If enough people did this we could take the party back.

    Actually giving back party members' democratic rights to control policy would be a start! Things like local people for local MPs, a democratic conference where policy is discussed and yes arguments occur. People need to know that democracy is about giving people a VOICE not fiddling your way to power using PR and spin.

    But remember it will take hard work and will not happen overnight.

    Oh FFS I'll be saying blood sweat and tears next! better shutup! ;)

  44. princess
    I am bricking it at the thought of the Tories. I really am. And I hate them with a passion. But I cannot bring myself to vote for Labour just to keep the Tories out.

    So am I which is why I've decided to give my vote to someone else who, arguably needs it more (purely symbolic, I know) - maybe one of
    these women. Anyone else who wants to do similar can do it here

  45. anne

    Thank f*ck you're here!


    My late mum's dad died in Lodge Moor Isolation hospital of TB which was rampant in the Walkley area at the time. Before he was hospitalised, there was no income for their large family while he couldn't work and GPs charged for their services back then. But stories abound from Walkley area of local doctors' kindness eg: waiving charges to the poorest familes and of neighbours helping out with jugs of soup sent round to feed hungry families. My parents thought that the welfare state is the most precious thing we have, and Labour gave it to us. But it was a socialist party then, not NuToryLite.

  46. sheff

    Brilliant idea and I appreciate how strongly you feel, given that getting universal suffrage in the first place was so bloody hard.

  47. sheff, anne

    Are you picking up on this generational history gap - saw it on a recent feminism thread, when in response to comments, Linda Grant posted her BTL 'Life on Earth' account of what women's rights meant when she was 16 and how they had been changed through women's activism. Resonated with me, 'cos I know the history but others clearly didn't share that lived reality.

    princessc's comments about her mum today are reminding me of the same thing. Was it ever thus?

  48. Anne

    Glad to see your fighting spirit is still going strong. Mine's dormant at the moment and I'm feeling very depressed about it all at the moment and finding it very difficult to engage with anything. Just want to hide under a stone and not come out.

    Partly because I really cannot see how anyone can possibly hope to turn things round for the better in the short to medium term and am not looking forward to a long struggle to right the ship - it's going to be a horrendous time for so many people.

    Sorry to be such a downer - I'll no doubt pull myself up by my own bootstraps shortly. Right now though I'm having a wallow in gloom.

  49. sheff

    Know exactly what you mean, same here. But let's make it a short wallow, as we have a UT Sheffield get-together to arrange (assuming folk still want one - deano is a cert).

    And anne's idea of choosing someone local for my MP has great appeal. I'll vote for you & princess, you can job-share.

  50. MsC

    Yes, lets get together - it would cheer me up enormously. So who's up for a meet up in Sheffield soon? and when would suit folk best?

  51. And where is deano? Hasn't his new monthly internet dufus started yet?

  52. anne:

    I've posted this before and make no apology for posting it again.

    I am very glad you have posted it (again) and i have read it on this occasion.

  53. On the upside, sheff, I was up round Penistone t'other day where I saw lots of Vote C posters on wooden posts along the edge of the fields, then one larger poster at the edge of town with the local candidate's face somewhat altered by a the sort of moustache Nick Griffin wishes he could grow, and a pair of horns. Made me and the other half smile anyway. As did NGs Radio 4 interview which was on shortly afterwards.

  54. Mschin - you raise a very important point about the intergenerational gap, those of us who remember the LP when it was more socialist and when there really were working class people in the house of commons, I mean miners, carpenters factory workers, dockers.

    This history needs to be told so that those who are coming up behind us realise that it is possible that things CAN change. They did once before - and can again.

  55. Hello All

    Interesting discussion on the demise of the left. It is important to show that things can be changed - for the better.

    Your caterpillars may be sawfly larvae. They can be very destructive.

    some sawflies live in social groups - often adults care for eggs and offspring. Pine sawfly grubs cluster together - when approached they stand up on tails and try to look like pine needles. They are a brown colour.

  56. Sorry Sheff - not heff !

  57. Well, well,

    that most conservative of individuals, the baseball player, has taken a stand against Arizona's immigration law


    I saw from previous posts you're a long suffering cubs fan. When I spent a bit of time in the US, I adopted the Cubs as my baseball team and got to see them a couple of times.

    Is this their season finally?

  58. back from a bloody disappointing days' work (commission only) 20 quid spent - no commission... hey-ho :(


    "But why the despair over Labour?"

    I think the despair set in within a couple of years of them gaining power.... it was like watching all those hopes and dreams of Thatcherite scorched-earth economics being crused underfoot and a genuine, egalitarian compassionate future with some kind of concrete respite for the poor being ushered in - remember how popular the 1p on income tax was? (For me at that time, even though it took me back a bit financially, I and millions of others thought it was well worth it - the greater good and all that, Sure Start yeah, job well done, but that was about it really)

    No such luck. The first people Tory B. Liar got in to advise him were Fatcher's ecomonic henchmen... he ground his heel into Brown's face the moment he had the reins.... as Steve Jones once intoned to the odious fat bastard Bill Grundy in 1976.... "wot a fuckin' rotter".

    This past week, as the shambolic and air-brushed, vacuous Tories look like they're getting nearer the hot seat, I've been noticing just how many people are barely existing on the absolute margins already: and they're the one's who are visible.

    God, it makes me really depressed.....

  59. Back now.

    @LaRit - which 1p on income tax was that? I don't remember it...

  60. Any of you know these lyrics love 'em ( no it's not too early BB! bless)

    There's blood in the dust
    Where the city's heart beats
    The children play games
    That they take from the streets
    How can you teach when you've so much to learn
    May you turn
    In your grave
    New world.

    There is hate in your eyes
    I have seen it before
    Planning destruction
    Behind the locked door
    Were you the coward who fired the last shot
    May you rot
    In your grave
    New world

  61. Dear All,

    re the flashy counter thingy.

    please be aware that this information is quite public for each and every Untrustee who has the thing enabled.

    I tend to have it disabled using NoScript add-on for firefox. They have another page of interest here.

    I have it turned on at the moment, because i don't mind if bitey, or anybody else for that matter, finds out that i am using linux and firefox.

  62. Bit o' the Clash always makes me feel better.... Working for the Clampdown...

    "hah! Git along, git along......"


    Who's barmy now?

  63. Good day.

    I have had a not particularly busy day. I went ou this afternoon for a walk. By coincidence, I just happened to walk near Celtic Park just as the fans were streaming out back into Glasgow city centre after the game. Then I walked down the clyde as far as BBC Scotland, then walked back again through the centre. Knackered, had to walk everywhere as I lost my bus pass.

  64. PeterJ:

    "@LaRit - which 1p on income tax was that? I don't remember it..."

    The first one they implemented... bizarrely, I can't find a reference to it.... circa 1998/9? Maybe a little later?

    Sorry not to be more specific, but I remember it distinctly

  65. medve:

    Can you explain a little to the eternally thick when it comes to t'internet.... maybe I should read your additional info and get back?

  66. Well I'll just ignore the fact that I'm being ignored

    "Your number's been disconnected

    I'm sorry
    I'm sorry
    I'm sorry

  67. Sorry, Christina, I've been away for a while. And I'm just useless at identifying lyrics ... without the music.

    btw, BBs still off-line, I think.

  68. @LaRit - Here's something I found about budgets since 1997...

  69. No bells rung here either, Christina. Sorry!

  70. hey thanks PeterJ and Mschin for replying

    It was the B52s don't you just love them?

  71. Peter

    When did they remove the 10% income tax rate on pay up to a certain level, which was introduced in 1999 & benefited the lowest paid? Was it in 2007/08?


    You're scaring me again, technophobe that I am!

  72. LaRit: (if i may, since everyone seems to refer to you thus)

    The first link that i gave provides a table of all current visitors to UT that 99counter.com is aware of. In my case it says: Hungary [big url pointing to my present comment] Firefox 3.x / Linux/Unix

    which are my location, [], browser, and operating system.

    When you browse the internet it is not one-way communication. Your browser provides information to the website so that communication can take place. Your "IP" (your telephone number or address on the internet)is always given, because otherwise there would be no way for the website to send you the page you want to look at.

    This is all fair and well, PROVIDED that you realise that you are giving out this information about yourself.

    In the case of the counter thingy, i found out by chance that they have a page listing all on-line Untrustees who have the thing enabled. Luckily they are not giving out the IP addresses, but i would not be surprised if 99counters.com actually sell that information.

    I have added something called NoScript to my firefox, which by default disables all kinds of scripts and also flash players. This has the benefit that i don't get bothered by these annoying in-your-face adverts in the main. I can permit any such content on a case per case basis.

  73. Peter

    The income tax rate increased in April 2008.

    So that can't be what La Rit is remembering as a 1p tax increase, as it's fairly recent.

  74. medve

    What do you advise for Windows / Firefox users?

  75. MsChin: Please do not be alarmed. Let us rather be aware.

  76. medve

    It's ok, just wandered over to the Firefox Add-ons site to take a look at NoScript. May download it later if it stops some of those bloody ads!

  77. Clearly missed a very interesting afternoon - MsChin - on the 'generation gap' in feminism, I think you're bang on - many current commentators are about my age or younger, so first 'aware' in the 1980s or later, not aware of the really really fundamental stuff from earlier - thus, it's all clothing and the media, because they just don't realise the battles already won, perhaps. Some older gay friends say the same of gay rights - now fighting about adoption, when they remember when just being was illegal...

    Christina - have a soft spot for the B52s - 'Roam', in particular, there's a sort of joyous freedom to it...

  78. historic tax rates (choose 'income tax', and then the 'rates' sheet on the spreadsheet that opens) suggests no increases to the basic rate since 1974 (apart from the 10% rate going)

  79. MsChin: Easier way:

    within firefox

    Edit -> Preferences which brings up a pane with a button called Manage Add-ons. Clicking that will give you yet another pane in which Get Add-ons will enable you to search for NoScript and it will install hassle-free.

  80. @Philippa

    That's what I thought - the only big change was the 10p rate abolition, until the 1p on NI that should come in next year.

  81. Philippa

    Makes me reconsider what 'hidden from history' really means.

    I was at an LGBT do a few months ago where someone was talking about his lifetime experience, the problems he faced from the early 60s for 'just being' with someone who remains his partner to this day. But chuffed to little mintballs that (even though things still ain't perfect for the community) many things certainly have changed.

  82. Hey Phillipa

    My favorite is 'love shack' love it......have been known to dance around 50s style to it..... hand movements bopping style.....

    Ok moved on to:

    Do you wanna to marry a lumberjack
    do you wanna to freeze to death
    Do you wanna be a beauty queen
    And rule the kingdom

  83. MsChin: .. if it stops some of those bloody ads!

    Certainly does. The drawback is that for the choonz (yes YouTube uses a flash player) an extra click is required for each song.

    Another drawback is that you will have to allow a number of scripts in order to be able to comment here and on CiF.

  84. @medev:

    Don't believe we've met, but please, la rit is absolutely fine by me and thanks for asking.

    Thanks very much for the information: I'm using another computer at the moment (mine broke)and suspect that the extreme caution exercised by t'other half is pretty adequate, but I will check with him for sure and check that any unwelcome 'tracking' is nothing to worry about. Using Firefox at moment as Google Chrome went strangely pear-shaped about a week ago. Given my hideous experience last year (long story) I would hate to draw uneccesary interest unwittingly.

  85. MsChin - have just made much the same point on the 'HIV' thread, as Sparta has indeed come up. Will now log off to avoid yelling at anyone.

    Christina - no idea! Put me out of my misery, or I'll be humming it to a variety of completely inappropriate tunes...

  86. PeterJ:

    That's a very useful breakdown... so it was 2003?

    "National Insurance: Uncapped 1% increase in employer, employee and self-employed rates from April 2003 to fund increases in health spending"

    It had a marked effect - did it go on Health or was filched by TB Liar to part-fund the Iraq War I wonder???

  87. Phillipa


    We have to revisit this another time?

  88. I was in a bit of a delirium from late 2000 onwards as my Dad succumed to heart disease.... life was a bit of an grieving blur :(

    Since that time, I did have a habit of lumping years in together...

  89. \0 - am off colour with a fever at minute.

    Been good reading here of late.

  90. Phllipa and ms Chin:

    Cheers for reminding me of B52's.... reminds me of my cousin... circa 1977/8 :-)

  91. apols for spelling mistakes.... being v. tired and a liccle too much birra makes for crap typing!

    Have to go now.... a domani...

  92. deano

    You ok there, mate?

  93. LaRit: cheers. I have gone into invisible lurking state again. There is a lot of opinion that Firefox 3+ is pretty safe and with NoScript and a little gumption very safe.

  94. deano

    Coming over all Florrie Nightingale here, but take some paracetamol & drink plenty of fluids (and no, I don't mean alcohol).

  95. Evening all

    @deano-Hope it,s nothing serious.Wondered where you
    were.All the best and get better soon.

    News has reported more riots breaking out in Athens
    against people demonstrating against budget cuts.
    Tear gas has been used but dunno how many injuries.
    Thankfully no fatalities so far.

    Don,t mean to sound melodramatic but can,t help thinking we,re gonna see a 'ripple effect and possibly not just in Greece as time goes on.No
    idea how/when this is all gonna end.

  96. Paul

    Sky news (on-line version) has reported May Day riots in Athens, Istanbul, Macau, and in northern Russia. Apparently, trouble is also expected in Portugal and in Los Angeles.

    Meanwhile, the British stay at home.

  97. Medev:

    Thanks for the heads-up all the same.... lurking or no lurking, it's very important to be reminded to exercise caution.

    Have a good evening and a merry bank holiday to one and all.... just like Christmas but with blossoms and fresh green trees.... :-)

  98. Leni

    Forgot to say thanks for the 'caterpillar' identification, they sound very undesirable but I shall have to rely on natural predators to deal with them.

  99. Cheers, La Rit. Same to you.

  100. Chin - I'll survive our kid. Pissing razor blades through a strangulated cock!

    Managed to get some antibiotics from last Dr's appointment before BH break so I should be ok soon. I usually respond well to medicines since I so rarely need them.

    Be good to meet up in Sheffield when we get it sorted.

    Good to see Jenn30/LaRiT/et al have joined us on UT.

    I noted that Jenn30 in Middlesborough is yet another poster with a Yorkshire connection. The town was in Yorks when I was a lad and I never accepted it's removal or the Cleveland nonsense.


  101. deano

    For future ref, you've got a walk-in centre in Hull which is open longer hours than most GPs and on bank holidays too.

    I've used the walk-in centres we have here when my own GP is closed, they are pretty damn good.

    Look forward to meeting up, deano, and so will sheff (I know I can speak for her in this case!).

  102. Deano30

    My Dad never accepted the Cleveland thing either he was a Yorkshireman and proud of it.

    I think Cleveland as a county was abolished some years ago, not sure what we are called now, Teesside maybe.

  103. Jenn30 - good news. Technically you are back in North (Riding) Yorks (for ceremonial purposes)

    The locals here in E Yorks never tired of painting over the Humberside signs with "Yorkshire" and a white rose. It continued for more than 20 years until Humberside was finally abolished too.

    Chin - thanks for link. Good to know that such a facility is in striking distance should I need it. Have bookmarked the link.

    Having an early night so its good night from me. Catch you all later.

  104. Evening UT. The Mariners have staved off relegation for another week by beating Barnet, I've bought 6 books (including The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - wish I'd seen Leni's verdict before!) bringing my total for the last week to 15, and had another ear piercing - so am feeling in turn cheerful, guilty, and owchie.

    deano - hope you're feeling better soon.

  105. Well, experimenting with cooking. Always remember to put the pasta sauce on first, not after the actual pasta!.

    Other than that, seems Britain is crazy. Before, living in a remote and rural area, I was somewhat disconnected from mainstrean society, but recent times being in an urban area and observing people, society and the mores and oblique snippets from everyday life, I know have a more up to date view of modern Britain.

    As I wrote earlier about we are in a Huxleyan based dystopia, I still agree with that, but I don't deny there sre aspects of Orwellianism. There are very many CCTV cameras. I don't see much good happening for the country, especially with the re-election of the Tories perhaps imminent, we have the two parties swapping power with a few superficial differences, all commited to the same unchanging ideology since 1979.

    What I see happening is that all the intellectuals will simply leave Britain, the country will have to import African and Asian skilled workers, many of whom have homophobic and religiously fanatic views. The country will grind along on the same post 1979 angle, with more inequality. Toughness on immigration will be applied, but our education system was made to make us comlpiant and uneducated to serve the needs of the CBI and FSB, so there will need to be imports of skilled labour. The BNP will probably increase in power. The X factorisation of our society will continue. Universities will continue to offer silly degreess and business suited MBAs which are contrary to the academic tradition of intellect and rhetoric. They will continue to be 'rites of passage' for middle class offspring. Altough many of the skilled middle classes will emigrate. And many more things, probably, I'll write a blog post later, maybe...

    Also, I am thinking of leaving cif.

  106. Nap

    Thinking of leaving CiF? Tired of the trolls?

  107. MsChin and Nap

    Must admit i have this feeling that i,m slowly but surely petering out from Cif.Heart just not in it
    plus have had a couple of stupid moderations
    that made no sense at all.Want to hang on though to
    see how things pan out with Seaton,s successor.

  108. MsChin (sorry not Sheff)

    Did a bit of hit and run earlier - tried to catch up in hurry.

    Sawflies are common some years and not others. There seems to be one dedicated to almost every plant. We have a few this year - caterpillars (moths + butterflies0 not Springtime critters here - they come later when it warms up (If it ever does )


    You may like Dragon tattoo - i find it very slow - still trying to limp thru first chapters - just not engrossing me at all. I tried Da Vinci code and abandoned that too. Many others enjoyed it - so give it a go.


    I know what you mean about cities - they seem like another land. Give a completely different perspective on 'Britain '. There is no one Britain - something the politicians sometimes forget. the problems of the majority are in many ways the same but each area has specifics - this has helped to fragment the working class.

    we are perhaps less aware of familiar surroundings - take them for granted or , if unpleasant, learn to ignore. New areas can open our eyes to things we haven/t thought about before or have thought about only as abstracts.

    Why are you leaving - thinking of - Cif? I/m just slowly drifting away rather than formally leaving.


    Look after yourself - you're a precious commodity. x

  109. I don't know. Really I suppose my personal life is interfering at the moment. I can't really make commenta on anything. I know where I stand though. Cif certainly does help, against the alienation and idiocies of life, where many people around me seem to be barely monosyllabic and/or brainwashed by questionable ideology (ie, reading rupert murdoch publications and submitting meekly to his dystopian worldview, as GIYUS would say, these are the sheeple).

    But still. I might come back and start posting under my real name, ditto for blogging and on here. I don't know, I just feel that is the right way. Otherwise everything I say has less meaning to it. I am just an anonymous voice. Obviously if I do post under my own name, I would have to watch what I say, as it would be 'on the record'.

    Sincerely, Charlie.
    (Well, there is my first name, there is a start.)

  110. Paul

    I am hoping, forlornly probably, that post election Cif might buck up a bit - I expect it will just become a series of articles trying to paint the looming dystopia as a really good place to live - whilst all those who can afford to escape elsewhere do so.

  111. And I suppose heavy handed moderation is a factor. Another factor is that yes, cif has become a bit cliquey, altohugh I suppose I am now part of that clique. Also, just a sense of ennui at the whole thing. I could wait for them to toss a bone, and maybe one day commission me, but really, we must be fools if we think CiF actually makes a difference. It is what is called a 'circle jerk', everyone wanks each other off, ie, preaching to the converted.

  112. Ok, so we've all got 'CiF fatigue' but we have the UT (and no doubt other places where we can virtually hang out).


    Stay anonymous on-line, my friend.

  113. Mschin.

    No, I feel that being myself and being 'on the record', altohugh I can't make the same outbursts, my views and opinions can be more heard. Obviously there is a need for anonymous bloggers, whistleblowers, etc, but I am not in that position, I comment from a detached angle. For example, I could say, phone a radio program or something, and I would be under my own name, they would be more acceptable.

  114. ok, Nap. You know you own mind.

  115. Lost an 'r' there somewhere ..

  116. @Leni

    Watched a video of Cameron campaigning and it left
    my blood cold.Really felt like slapping the tw-t.
    Have largely felt indifferent to this election and
    on one level i,ve always realised a Tory victory is
    on the cards.But tonight watching that video the
    reality actually hit me if that makes any sense.Hate
    the bastard!Sounds childish i know but who the f-ck
    is he?Some rich tosspot who knows f-ck all about most
    peoples reality.And most of New Labour are no better.
    As Anne said in her earlier post there was a time
    when real working class people were much more prominent in the Labour movement.Not now and don,t
    we all know it.

    @Napoleon-MsChin is right -stay anonymous cos there
    are some real nutjobs on the net.Seriously!

  117. B52s ? Rock Lobster.. ???

    Not bad for annoying tin-eared 80s student hipsters who never wanted to get old.

    Meanwhile here's John Lee Hooker and an Irishamn



  118. Paul

    I've said before there is an emptiness about Cameron. Am I exaggerating when I say I am beginning to think it is that detachment from the reality of the majority that leads to so many politicians living and acting in a moral vacuum ?

    They have a theoretical approach to life and others which enables them to enact the most vicious policies without any understanding of how they translate into reality for millions - and not really caring either. Blair has this quality too. If 'the policy' is , as they believe right, then that's all that matters.

  119. I'll just throw this into the mix and see what happens! www.vernoncoleman.com.
    Is this guy just a "conspiracy nutter" or does he talk some common sense?
    As far as I'm concerned the "jury is still out" but he's struck a raw nerve with me.

  120. Paul

    WADDYA got interesting today, when it moved from the book club (for those who can afford them) to discussion about what 'indigenous' means. Good post from you re: the DNA of people from the Caribbean.

  121. chekov

    From a quick glance at a paper called 'Squeezing the poor until the pips sqeak', I can see why the raw nerve was struck.

  122. Leni

    I would like to think that Cameron is proposing his policies because he thinks they are right, that would make him at least sort of honourable.

    He will do whatever it takes and say whatever it takes to get him into No 10, I really do think he is that shallow.

    He is spouting what he and his advisors think the people want to hear (which doesn't reflect well on us as a whole) if he gets the power he so obviously craves then god help us he is a hollow man being used by others and their agenda is probably much worse.

    I sound like a conspiracy nutter now.

  123. MsChin
    Not bad eh ?

    Nice link, New Labour's nondom/expat policy is a huge sink for our tax/pensions futures. Cheers

  124. chekhov: Had a look at that site. Seems very keen to sell his book and British house prices haven't dropped to 50% by 2009.

    Nevertheless, for the raw nerve of the jury how about

    The Olduvai Theory?

  125. How about KD Laing and Tony Bennet ?



  126. BTW: I don't mind admitting that I'm lobbing in for the Lib Dems. But only on the basis that they couldn't fuck up any worse than the other two and I do have reservations about their policies with regard to the European Union.
    I just treasure the moment Gordon Brown has to get in his limousine to go to Buckingham Palace having come a pathetic third in the scam that masquerades as our plebiscite and ask to form a government. I just hope she tells him to "fawk off"

  127. medve
    Looks like a load of pseudo-science snake-oil bulshit.

    Can we set up a Think Tank ? Got to be worth a million.

  128. Here's Joe Satriani with some amazingly fun rock nonsense from twenty years ago...


    Big BAD Moon :-p

  129. BW

    I'm off to bed now (been on here all day, it seems!), but sheff & I are still wanting a Sheffield get-together, so let us know what you think. And same to hank, who I missed last night - again.

  130. Jenni

    What he believes to be right does not necessarily have a moral basis. The Divine Right of Kings was believed in and drove policy for centuries - didn't do much for the peasants tho.

    there are still some who believe that privilege is a necessary component of all societies - by working to maintain privilege on ideological grounds you inevitabley build in the concept of the underprivileged - it has to exist otherwise there are no privileged members of said socity.

    Your starting point conditions the thinking.

  131. MsChin - Sheffield ? Definitely up for it. Haven't heard from Hank for a while. Will make enquiries....

    Meantime heres a dude called Robert Ward - I'm under instruction to check him out. Yeah.


  132. Following links, and trying to find live versions - and found this. Wonder where all my vinyl went?

  133. I am not disagreeing with your main point Leni, all I am saying is that if Cameron had been recruited to Labour at some point in his university career (unlikely I know) he would now be declaiming the Labour line with the same passion as he does the Tory line now.

    Obviously this is all conjecture on my part but the man gives me the serious heebie jeebies, I think he would probably fake the murder of his family in order to get sympathy votes.

    I don't know that the other two wouldn't do the same but he just seems so obviously pathologically ambitious to me.

  134. Medve: I think Vernon Coleman's books deserve more than a cursory glance. He had to resort to publishing them himself since some of them were banned. So inevitably he had to do some self marketing.

  135. Nice one PeterJ.
    "Is it no wonder you've got no power
    When you pay a thief to keep it for you.."

  136. And this again. Got the album for 25p in Lancaster market, circa 1973...

  137. Jenni
    we can but hope that within the next few days Cameron will bu subjected to an overwhelming natural disaster of one.

  138. And now it's time to lively up yourself - with this.

  139. Ah yes; the Sheffield contingent. I live on Tyneside now but I was born in Sheffield and many happy memories of the "Steel City".
    If anyone want's to share their story of living in Sheffield I'd be most interested. My Dad played for Sheffield United.

  140. This link was posted by FreemanMoxy on the Goldman Sachs thread the other day. Food for thought?


    BW.Three hours? Ya lightweight.

  141. Cool, Peter! Yr 2nd link didn't work though
    Here's Oscar Peterson...


    No shit ??! You've got to join us for a drink - surely ? Be my pleasure.

  142. Leni:

    What he believes to be right does not necessarily have a moral basis. The Divine Right of Kings was believed in and drove policy for centuries - didn't do much for the peasants tho.

    Although i agree with you largely of course, i would nit-pick that in many European countries the peasants were oppressed by their direct lords and saw the king -- rightly or wrongly -- as their ally.

  143. Bitterweed: If that was an invite to the Sheffield "bun fight" then I'll move Hell and High water to be there!

  144. BTW: My Dad also played for Leeds United with the great John Charles and also had a run out with Manchester United during the war years but that's another story!

  145. PeterJ
    Awesome. An underexplored sub-genre:



    Hatfield and the North anyone ?

  146. medve

    This was true here at times - but the system with king as capstone of the pyramid also maintained the system of privilege and allowed the barons to abuse the people. In some cases the king was captive to the system.

    societies are very complex - some elasticity is, I think , always necessary otherwise they crack but often the elasticity is illusory.

    I find systems/societies very interesting - if difficult to fully understand - and recognise that we can make many false attributions to them because social systems consist of individuals who are unpredictable. Small groups acting unpredicably can be the trigger for massive change.

  147. This comment has been removed by the author.

  148. Bitterweed: There's much more: I played foot ball with Eusebio at Benfica's stadium in Lisbon when Jimmy Hagan was their manager!

  149. @BW - Hatfield and the North indeed! But try this instead...

  150. I assume you're joshing mate..

  151. Confessions of Dr Dream ! Will investigate...

  152. This comment has been removed by the author.

  153. Peter

    Smooth shag-rock nonsense ?


    Frankly, it's still great.

  154. Hi All--Night shift, left coast subsection, checking in. Some damn fine tunes put up by PeterJ and others. Many selections right up my alley.

    deano--Get well soon chum, you're missed when not here.

  155. Small Hours... John Martyn...


  156. This comment has been removed by the author.

  157. Yo Paul.

    I've got a really good mate staying with me who has just pissed on my kitchen floor.

    Back in a bit, need to clear things up.

  158. Night guys

    enjoy the music - and the mopping up. x

  159. Paul, Montana, good posts on the 'indigenous' issue. Was wondering when a definition would be offered. Good call on the hybrids hypothesis Paul, something to that, methinks.

    Night Leni.

    Bitterweed--Was he at least trying for the sink? If not, he's a boor.(-;

  160. Paul

    Just popped back - have queried your 'hybrid' definition > no offence intended. x

  161. http://www.voteforachange.co.uk/

    somebody posted this on Rawnsley thread. I tried - confirmed my worst suspicions. Lab will take something like 73% of vote. No tactical voting for me then.

  162. Hi Leni

    Course i,m not offended(i,ll just quietly have a bit
    of a mansulk!)Cyber mates can disagree!Sleep well:-)

  163. medve, boudican

    Sharing the love...


  164. Be in my book of dreams. Or someone's.

    Cos damn.


  165. morning Bitterweed -- all-nighter? I just got up.

  166. Up late medve. What you got ?

    Remember Withnail & I ?

    The opening scene....

    "Eight million Londoners wake up to this every morning..."

    This is the uncut soundtrack



  167. Here's Jackson Browne


  168. Bitterweed: Was up late and got up early. Good listening!